For this month's newsletter, we want to highlight a recent trip our Harding University in Latin America (HULA) program took to Argentina. In the following paragraphs, HULA director Jeremy Daggett introduces the Argentina trip and four HULA students share some of their favorite aspects of the trip. We hope you enjoy this deep dive into a portion of our HULA program. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to also catch up on HUF and HUG's March activities.
Going to Argentina is like experiencing Europe from South America. We visit a beautiful mega-city, Buenos Aires, with 13.6 million people. It’s a city of immigrants, both historically and now, with a complicated history, beautiful art and architecture. With my friend Jonathan Hanegan, we got the chance to experience life in the city, connect with his church and friends, and ask a new set of questions as we learn about God and what it means to be human. We moved from mega-city to Patagonia, a barren wilderness with its own raw beauty. We hiked in El Chalten, walked on the massive Perito Moreno Glacier, and visited the world’s southernmost city: Ushuaia, gateway to Antarctica. You’ll see from the student reflections below that wherever we look there is something to learn about God—whether that’s the image of God in someone from a different place speaking a different language or in the magnitude of creation. Thanks for reading!
by Parker Rickard
As a whole, the country of Argentina surprised me—especially the city of Buenos Aires. People come from all over the world to visit here. Buenos Aires is a giant melting pot for people across the world. The city is huge and incredibly diverse. Being here, you feel this odd potential to do anything you desire, but you also feel a sense of incapability within such a large city. The grandness of the city has a way of humbling you.
The European influence in Buenos Aires is heavily present. The most obvious way you can see it is through the architecture. At some points, the only difference you could point out is that some buildings have signs on them in Spanish.
The city provided me with a unique way of encountering God. The wide variety of people and cultures allows us to witness people who bear God’s image that we would not typically encounter. We can also see God present through the complexity of the city. Each person serves a specific purpose in the city which allows the world around us to continually function. God brings function to the chaos of the city. Overall, this city has taught me that, just because my path might be different than those around me does not mean that I’m going the wrong way. God has given me my own purpose within the vast world.
by Drew Fowler
We visited Buenos Aires for four days. During that time we visited art museums like MALBA, memorials in the city center and Espacio Memoria, traveled across the city by means of bus, subway and walking, ate local Argentine food like medialunas and Argentine beef, and met Jonathan Hanegan, a missionary based in Buenos Aires. We also explored the city with a couple of locals (Jonathan’s friends).
Getting to share a meal with a local was a special experience. Eating is one of the common trends across humanity and our meal was very uniting. Our guide for the day, Valentina, had us only speak in Spanish during the meal, causing me to feel like I was in kindergarten again. It was frustrating to be so limited in my ability to communicate both with her and even my friends at the table with me. Valentina was very patient and friendly throughout the experience, showing much kindness as we struggled to express the simplest thoughts. Another part of the experience that stuck out to me was Valentina and Cory’s ability to bond immediately and converse about movies for a large portion of the meal. Despite the limited vocabulary, they were able to connect with common favorite movies and directors. I was very encouraged to see the love, kindness, and joy that Valentina brought for a bunch of college kids that she would never see again.
The time spent that day exploring the city and eating with Valentina will stick out in my mind much longer than the museums, buildings, or parks that we visited. Community is a huge part of what it means to be human. I saw a lot of community in all of Jonathan’s friends showing up to be our guides. Seeing Cory (HULA student) and Valentina form a bond over movies so quickly showed me how we are built to form a community. Art and specifically movies are a common uniting factor for people to observe and discuss beauty and intelligence on display through storytelling. Jonathan Hanegan spoke about looking at our faith as a story through which humanity can connect.
El Chalten in Patagonia
by Anna Claire Williams
The Argentine Patagonia! Never have I been in a place where I felt so hugged and nurtured by God’s beauty and creativity. We had a free day in El Chalten, the hiking capital of Patagonia. Here, the main attraction is the Fitz Roy trail, a 12-hour hike that leads to the inspiration for the Patagonia brand logo, the Laguna de los Tres viewpoint. We spent what felt like countless hours on the trail that led to so many lovely conversations with fellow hikers along the way, HULA students and travelers alike. There was something so sweet about the breaking down of the language barrier to bond through a thumbs up accompanied with a breathless smile as we let them pass us on the trail.
All along the way, we heard Spanish, English, Italian, Dutch, and Japanese. I remember thinking that this was a reflection of the human experience of getting to heaven. All the people on that trail have hometowns scattered across the world with different life paths that led them to hike Fitz Roy at that exact moment, all with the similar experience of seeing one of the most magnificent places on our sweet earth.
There is the fingerprint of the Father in the shared experience of standing in awe at creation; we all feel a greater sense of peace, humanity, and purpose when we wander through the woods or admire the ocean. Standing before the Laguna de los Tres lookout gave me the overwhelming, warm, heart-hugging presence of the Creator God that I get the privilege of loving and knowing. Studying at HULA has given me the opportunity to understand and see the Father in a way I didn’t know was possible and has allowed me to understand my own humanity in a deeper and more meaningful way.
by Erin Booher
Our group spent a few days in Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the Western Hemisphere. There, we took an all-day boat tour, saw an island of native penguins, and more. On our last day in the “end of the world”, we took a 5 mile guided hike along the southern shore and canoed through the Beagle Channel, a body of water that connects to the Antarctic ocean. This trip was one of the most disorienting, yet awe-inspiring, experiences of my life. When I imagine where I see the Lord most clearly, it’s usually not in nature. But the lush greenery, unique variety of (edible!) flora, and powerful yet gentle ocean pointed me repeatedly to an image of God the Creator. Our compassionate Creator facilitates hope and inspires goodness in people through the nature we get to experience, and He used His creation in Ushuaia to draw our group near to Him and each other.
Harding University in Florence
During the month of March, HUF students enjoyed two weeks of independent travel throughout Europe, as well as group travel to places within Italy, such as Lucca, Pisa, Paestum, Pompeii, Naples and more!
Harding University in Greece
HUG spent the first few days of March touring Cappadocia, Turkey. A couple of days later, the group traveled through the Peloponnese region of Greece visiting Corinth, Epidaurus, Nafplio, Olympia and more. HUG concluded the month on the island of Crete.
Three HULA students with Mount Fitz Roy from Katie Daggett
HULA students in Buenos Aires from Parker Rickard
HULA group in Buenos Aires from Jeremy Daggett
HULA group with colorful buildings from Jeremy Daggett
HULA student standing on rock in water from Anna Claire Williams
HULA group with Glacier Park Sign from Jeremy Daggett
Three HULA students sitting on a rock from Katie Daggett
Two HULA students with waterfall from Jenna Wesley
Four HULA students riding horses from Melea Rice
Three HULA students on a glacier from Jenna Wesley
Two HULA students on a boat from Erin Booher
HULA students with the island of penguins from Jeremy Daggett
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